Rick Wakeman: the truth behind band break-ups and reunions.

Rick Wakeman's Caped Crusades Column - Matilda's Knickers cartoon
(Image credit: Kevin February)

Most bands don’t break up for the musical differences they claim.

Let’s create a fictitious band that we’ll say formed in the mid-70s and give them a nice 70s name – Matilda’s Knickers, named after a garment left by the bass player’s sister in the Transit van.

We’ll now list each band member and their pluses and minuses. Note that none of these musicians are based on real people and any similarity is purely coincidental.

Jim Naseum: superb vocalist with a great range. Great showman on stage. Minus points: annoying dickhead and up his own arse. Thinks he’s God’s gift to women and a superstar. Likes to undress in front of the band in order to show off his body.

Arthur Crown: decent enough bass player who can also do backing vocals. Minus points: is four-stone overweight, which contributes to his virtual non-stop flatulence. Spends a lot of time pulling his sister Matilda out of the Transit van, and Jim Naseum out of his sister.

Bob Uppendown: typical 70s drummer. Hits everything in sight and is very loud. Minus points: tends to speed up, which means he finishes before the rest of the band. Sweats profusely and personal hygiene is a serious issue.

Ben Dover: outrageous lead guitar player. Incredibly dextrous fingers, as Matilda will vouch for. Minus points: deafening volume. Never listens to anyone else in the band. Steals the wine and eats all the food from their rider.
Rock Wankman: a fine keyboard player. Minus points: none really.

They’ve made two albums: Who Tore The Gusset and The Stains Will Wash Out. Both sold pretty well, enabling them to tour, sometimes as headliners in reasonably sized venues.

Ben says he’s joining another band who have a bigger rider.

By 1978, though, they’re totally broke. Their management, agent, promoter, lawyers, accountant and record company have drained the income, leaving very little for the lads, except for a huge debt. They call a meeting where they sack the management but it’s too late to save the band.

Bob hasn’t washed for three weeks. He now has nowhere to live and the smell in the room is awful, especially when blended with Arthur’s flatulence. Ben says he’s joining another band who have a bigger dressing room rider. He storms out, saying all the other guys stink and drive him mad. Jim sells his story to a Sunday newspaper and gives them compromising photos of himself and Matilda. Rock doesn’t even bother to show up. He’s had an offer from a Yes tribute band.

Arthur eventually gets fed up with the shouting and hides in the van with Matilda.

It’s now 2016 and Matilda’s Knickers are asked by their old label, Unilateral Records, to reunite, and so the lads appear on The One And Only Show to be interviewed. The smiling presenter asks them what brought them back together.

Jim replies on behalf of the band. “We have absolutely nothing in common, except for one thing… We’re all fucking broke!”